A phlebotomist is a health care specialist that is trained to draw blood in a manner that is safe and sanitary. A phlebotomist may work in a hospital or clinic, and may collect blood for diagnostic purposes or blood donations from blood drives.
Phlebotomist Education Requirements
High School Diploma
Those who are seeking a career in phlebotomy must have a high school diploma from an acreditted school. Alternately, they may have a GED, a high school diploma equivalent. As with all students interested in a career in the medical field, high school students who would like to enter into the field of phlebotomy should have a strong background in math, science and health studies. Taking advanced courses in these subjects will provide a solid foundation for further studies.
Phlebotomy Training Programs
A professional wanting to pursue a career in phlebotomy has many schooling options available. Community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools all provide courses that teach students how to properly draw blood. Training programs generally take less than one year to complete. Coursework usually includes classes on how to maintain sanitary conditions and practices, the proper disposal of bodily fluids and how to interact with patients. Students will learn how to deal with lab safety issues, as well as any legal issues that may arise over the course of their career.
In addition to proper classroom training, prospective phlebotomists will participate in hands-on training in a clinical or hospital environment. Because experience is highly valued by a potential employer, a student of phlebotomy will see many advantages to participating in internships and other programs that offer practical experience during their schooling.
Certifications and Licensures
Upon the successful completion of a phlebotomy program, a student can obtain certification through the American Association of Medical Personnel, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists or American Medical Technologists. Certain minimum requirements must be met before a student can enroll for certification. While many employers do not require certification, students that have obtained this distinction are at an advantage over professionals who have not.
In some states, phlebotomists are required to be licensed to work in this field. Licensure requirements vary by state and organization, and prospective employees should seek out advise from the health department of the state in which they are planning to work.